Alonso fourth, Schumacher tenth in their battle from the back in Melbourne

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Alguersuari kept Schumacher behind for 36 laps
Alguersuari kept Schumacher behind for 36 laps

Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher fell to the back of the pack at the start of today’s Australian Grand Prix after colliding on the first lap.

But while Alonso climbed back through the field to finish fourth Schumacher was only able to grab tenth place and the final point on the penultimate lap.

How did Alonso managed to make such better progress than Schumacher?

Schumacher and Alonso's time gap to the race leader
Schumacher and Alonso's time gap to the race leader (click to enlarge)

The graph above shows how far Alonso and Schumacher were behind the leader on each lap of the race. The data for some other relevant drivers is included.

Alguersuari, take one

The one driver who made the biggest difference was Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari. Alonso and Schumacher both pitted to discard their intermediate tyres on lap eight, one lap before Alguersuari.

As Alguersuari came out of the pits Alonso was able to drive past him – but Schumacher got stuck behind the Toro Rosso driver.

Although Alonso continued to move up the field by passing other cars, and plenty of changes of positions were happening further up the field, Schumacher could do little about Alguersuari. It took him 14 laps to find a way by.

Two laps later Alguersuari pitted for fresh tyres and Mercedes decided to cover him by bringing in Schumacher on lap 27.

However, as we have seen already this year, the driver who pits first has the advantage in this situation. Sure enough, Alguersuari got the position back from Schumacher – partly because the Mercedes drivers was now stuck behind Pedro de la Rosa.

Alguersuari, take two

On the graph above, Nico Rosberg’s dashed line shows the kind of pace Schumacher might have had without Alguersuari in the way.

This time Alguersuari stayed ahead for 22 laps before making a mistake, allowing Schumacher to muscle his way around the outside of the Toro Rosso at turn 15. Alguersuari ran him out to the edge of the track, unwilling to give the place up, but Schumacher finally prevailed.

It wasn’t the first time in the race he’d been troubled by one of the cars further down the order. Timo Glock cheekily re-passed the world champion at turn 14 earlier in the race.

Happily for Schumacher, de la Rosa proved much easier to pass when he caught him the second time. Peter Sauber cannot have been very happy at the ease with which de la Rosa surrendered the final points-paying position on the 57th tour, one lap from home.

Alonso’s progress

Alonso, meanwhile, had made his way past de la Rosa 44 laps earlier and never looked back. He passed Rubens Barrichello on lap 15 and took seventh off Mark Webber when the Red Bull driver went off on his out-lap the next time around.

The Ferrari driver gained three more places thanks to Vettel’s retirement, and the extra pit stops for Webber (who had re-passed Alonso) and Lewis Hamilton.

Granted, Alonso has a quicker car than Schumacher does at the moment. But when you think back to Schumacher’s famous drives from the back at Spa in 1995 or Suzuka in 1998 and then consider he spent 36 laps behind a Toro Rosso today, you have to wonder if he’s still a little race-rusty.

2010 Australian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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148 comments on “Alonso fourth, Schumacher tenth in their battle from the back in Melbourne”

  1. Alguersuari did brilliantly, he really put up a fight and overtook Schumacher after his stop I think, although the camera missed it.

    For me Alonso was driver of the day, coming back from being last at turn one when his team mate was in second then finishing just behind him. If he wins the championship it’ll be because of drives like that where he doesn’t give up that we’ll look back on. Fair play to him.

    1. driver of the day alonso i dont think so. i think it was lewis hamilton for his massive great all round performace

      1. Disagree with both. Jenson was clearly driver of the day. He made the early call himself – crew were still on their seats as he entered pitlane. Then Button took the race by the scruff of the neck, keeping a much faster Vettel honest until the brake failure cruelly ended his race. But 50 laps on a set of softs by Jense – brilliant work. Had total control of the situation and didn’t need or make any rash moves – a classic Button drive.

        1. Disagree with all of you! Kubica for me; keeping Hamilton behind ensured his 2nd place more than simply not being overtaken by Lewis, because once he pitted, Massa was the only threat left and he never looked like getting past him.

          1. Agree with Salty that Jense was driver of the day. He didn’t have it entirely easy after the switch as he had to push like hell, got the gap but then had to change the car to be understeery as his rears were going off although he did have a nice gap at that point that’s because his first part was so good. I’m not going to criticise him for getting so far ahead :P
            Racer of the day for me has to be Alonso though now I’ve thought about it. Hamilton pulled off some great passes but Alonso climbed up more, isn’t as rated in the wet as Ham and managed to make his strategy and tyres last the distance.

      2. Lewis drove beautifully, no doubt. But I think Alonso is the driver of the day.

        1. Button did well but apart from his call it was an easy race for him. Hamilton was also brilliant and could have caught Button maybe if he’d got passed Kubica.

          I still think Alonso was fantastic though.

          1. Driver of the day : Kubica. Full Stop.

          2. So many stunning drives today, Kubica was also brilliant to get that Renault into second. No one would have thought anyone other then the top 4 could get on the podium and Kubica has done it in the first race.

        2. lewis was getting way to out of shape towards the end of the race though. seemed impatient.

      3. Not a chance, man!… if anyone, Kubica was the star of the race. A Mclaren winning was a possibility, but after qualifing (or should i said, before the season started!) NO ONE was looking at the Renault saying: “this could actually get into the podium on the 2nd race”.

        Robert did brilliantly. He was faster than the car!

    2. i totally agree with you, fighting his way to 4th from last after the first corner spin was phenominal. then defending hamilton and webber !!!!!! JUST AMAZING, DEFINITELY THE DRIVE OF THE DAY

  2. Didn’t Ross Brawn mention to Martin Brundle after the race that more parts in the car was broken (which compromised its performance)?

    Why isn’t that to be taken into consideration?

    1. Did he say what was damaged? It wasn’t particularly heavy contact and they replaced the nose. There’s nothing in Mercedes’ post-race notes about any damage to the car either.

      1. Brawn, an i thought Brundle said that Shuey had suspension promblems from lap one, possibly cause by that front wing jamming into the ground, possibly when he got nurfed by Button.

        1. Brundle did say that Ross said (feel like I’m at school now :P ) that Schumi’s Merc did have more damage on the f1 forum but he didn’t say what.

        2. From the radio traffic, it was almost like Schumacher didn’t even notice that his front wing was broken. They had to tell him to come in.

      2. looked heavy enough to me… doesn’t take much to damage these cars, first he was hit by Alonso, and then he had a rough trip across the grass, I can believe damage came from that.

        It’s taken a lot less to do a lot more to F1 cars in the past…

        That being said, Jaime still did a fantastic job…

    2. he could be lying to give schumi a little brake.

      1. Most likely… Otherwise, it would be a little embarassing for both Mercedes and Schumacher.

      2. That must be the truth! There were no other problems!

    3. “Didn’t Ross Brawn mention to Martin Brundle after the race that more parts in the car was broken (which compromised its performance)?
      Why isn’t that to be taken into consideration?”

      Because it’s Michael Schumacher and everyone this year is trying to do everything to have a go at Michael and say that he isn’t that good any more.

      I think he would have been right up there if he hadn’t have been taken out by Button and Alonso at the start.

  3. This is cool. Thanks Keith.

    1. Norbet Haug mentioned it during the F1 Forum on the red button. There was, according to him, more than just wing damage.

    2. Just a follow-up from a different “Bob”: F1 Fanatic is essentially a one-man show, but it creates more original content and analysis than the corporate-run F1 sites, which seem satisfied just to repeat the teams’ press statements. I learn more about what actually happened in the race from this site than any other. Good on you, Keith.

      1. Thanks that’s very kind of you :-)

      2. Hey BOB! :) I agree. This is probably the best F1 site in the world

        1. Yep. It’s the only site I check multiple times a day.

          1. Ditto. Thanks Keith.

        2. I agree. Really good job. Thanks Keith.

  4. I am one of those who wonder if he was ever as good as those races made he seem to be. His results are inflated by a lack of competition and illegal moves.

    1. Lack of competition – let me get this straight: When nobody else on the grid is anywhere near as good as you are, this means your results don’t really count?

      Funny old world…

      1. Yeah I mean, Hakkinen, Hill, Villinuerve, Alonso, Raikkonen, Ralf, Coulthard, Piquet, Montoya and the rest were nobodies, he had no competition from them at all……

        Drivers move up and down in performance, 3 years off generally results in a radical down, but Schumacher is still quite competitive, don’t write him off as a driver just yet.

        1. Lets unpick that, shall we? He raced against Piquet in only 5 GPs – and Piquet came on top when you count the points they collected in those races. Alonso and Raikkonen only had competitive cars in the end of MS carrer – and Alonso beat him. And then you have JV, Coultard, Hakkinen, Hill, Barrichelo, Montoya…and so on. In other words: The who is who of the F1 Mediocre’s book. And even against them he managed to be beaten 4 times. Add to it that he found the need to cheat compulsively throughout his entire career and he is not such an impressive to me.

          1. I completely agree.
            The history books will have the years between the death of Senna and the appearance of Alonso as the lowest level of F1 racing in all times.
            People talk about Bahrein… the whole 2000 and 2002 seasons were much worse than that.

          2. Sorry, my past got jacked up. If they were mediocres, how can we consider the guys who didn’t even challenge him …

    2. But even if 7 titles is over the top, he is in the same class as senna and prost.

      1. Senna could do nothing with 2010 formula, just like schumi with 1988. They both are the best ever. But Schumi is best for longer time

        1. Schumacher is still a great driver. He has been out of the sport for 3 years. 2 starts and 2 points finishes on his return. Will he be disappointed with his comeback performance? Yes, because he is Michael Schumacher. Is he in the fastest car? No. There is more to come from both the car and the man. The only question surely is is Michael enjoying it enough still to stay with it? Mercedes WILL throw dev (read money) at this car to make sure it is up there by the end of the season I believe. Brawn and Michael know how to make this work. Nico is the fly in Michael’s neck rub right now, but early days. Schummi isn’t a quitter, we saw that in his early days with Ferrari. Think there is more to come.

  5. Nice article. Little typo in the last, paragraph: “Granted, Alosno”.

    1. Fixed, ta.

  6. For me Massa doesn’t look to good at the moment. yeah, for sure this track wasn’t his since friday but ..i don’t know he looks fat and his driving is somehow “fat” either. his teammate dropped to the bottom of the grid and almost got past him later on. it is not massa Iknow and i think it’ll be his last season with ferrari. Alonsa..superb ride. he’s looking really good at the moment.

    1. He looks fat? He looks like he has lost a fair bit of weight to me. And 2 podium finishes in a row? Doesn’t seem that bad to me, also his strongest finish at Melbourne. Considering what the lad has gone through in the past year I think he’s doing well!

      1. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion
        28th March 2010, 16:06

        Come on, he managed both podiums, but having your teammate on your back in 20 laps, after he had an incident which cost him the whole grid….. it’s annoying, at least.

        1. Massa has had his best to a season plus his best race result at Aus. He had problems since Friday even with the set up and tyres but he got a wonderful start and was unlucky to lose out so much in the pitstops (Kubica must have been happy at that though as maybe things would have been different). Massa did make a few errors, which he admitted, and although he set a better flap for him than Alonso did he didn’t seem to have the pace.
          Alonso got round the slower cars, a few quick ones toon and had a goopd strategy like Felipe but he couldn’t get round Massa so Alonso drove the better race and was more spectacular but Felipe got the job done when it came to keeping his teammate back even if it wasn’t as solid as he would have liked.
          Bahrain was a case of a dodgy start, Alonso outsmarting him which was no surprise and then a few car issues which meant he was nursing it home.
          Alonso will probably win as in my opinion he’s the best and smartest on the grid and I’m not even getting into silly season yet but 2 podiums after 8 months out (despite some bad luck) show Massa still knows how to drive.

          1. Very well put Steph.

            Massa always struggles at the start of the season. None of the previous 4, 2006 to 2009, he has started well.

            It seems that this time Massa and Rob Smedley have aimed to treat this problem. That is why he was so conservative off the start line at Bahrain. He was clearly having issues (self-inflicted) all weekend. So, his only target after that monster start was damage limitation.
            And he did exactly that.

          2. Or it shows that Massa is in the fastest car (seeing how the Red Bulls have one car that cannot finish a race by car failure or and the other by brain failure)

          3. @Patrickl

            Ferrari wasn’t the fastest car today. Not by quite a margin.

            Red Bull and Mclaren were both quicker.

          4. Yeah I think we need to cut Felipe some slack here, he obviously didn’t have as good a set up as Alonso, as shown in quali and race pace. Considering the amount of oversteer he was getting I think he did a good job to keep it on the island and bring home a podium ahead of his team mate.

          5. Come on..If you have a car as good as Ferrari is at the moment it is OBLIGATORY to finish at the podium. Excuse me. Sure.. You can look at this matter from other side, and we can go to a conclusion that he is riding briliantly at the moment. But he isn’t. Let’s face it. Alonso is looking much better now. Of course Massa is high in the championship table and this is a good job, I agree. Lewis is coming and if Vettel finally gets reliable car -Massa will drop like stone behind them? Will se.

          6. sumedh, Red Bull might have been fastest, but as I said they had mechanical failure or brain failure keeping them back …

    2. I agree, Massa’s ride was a little messy and not too fast compared to Fernando’s. Let’s face it, he was a second slower than Alonso in qualifying, and despite a brilliant start dropped places due to mistakes and/or insufficient defending. Clearly wasn’t a drive of his life. He had composure of neither Alonso nor Kubica when Lewis attacked him. He wasn’t good enough at keeping Webber behind either. I think Fernando would’ve risked overtaking him if not for the importance of a good “team result.”

      That said, Felipe was never the driver of the day in the wet. He wasn’t today either.

      1. He also lost out at the pits. He’s had some good wet drives and faired well in changing conditions; China 09, Brazil 08, Nurburgring 07.
        To be pedantioc wasn’t he 3/4s of a second slower ? :P

      2. Hi was in Japan 2007 fighting with Kubica.

        1. Yeah those were the days when you could overtake outside of the track and ram your opponent and still get away with it.

          1. Patrickl do you think Massa has ever done anything good? :P We could debate four hours… lol

          2. Massa had a good start and he qualifies well on his favorite tracks. Happy now?

        2. cool! what a shame that we dont get this kind of fights in dry conditions too.

    3. having problems with cold conditions like always. In malasya will be a harder nut to crack.

    4. He looks in shape. However, I think he can’t handle the pressure of having Alonso being better than him.

      1. theRoswellite
        28th March 2010, 20:22

        Well, at this race he handled it pretty well, finishing ahead of Alonso…holding him off…and getting onto the podium.

        If you look at a statistical comparison with Alonso you’ll find that they are almost identical in categories like Average Grid Position and Average Finishing Position.

        So, I think he is showing real maturity, and his start in Australia is as good as I can remember from anyone in the last few years.

        1. ‘If you look at a statistical comparison’
          ;like average grid position and average finishng’

          I hope these stats take into account that Massa has been driving a title winning Ferrari for the past two years while Alonso has been in a Mid-Field Renault!?

          1. Title winning Ferrari in 2009? I missed that one… I hope these stats also took into account that Massa spent 2/3 of last season out and was a Ferrari test driver 2004/2005, when Alonso was winning his first races and title…

        2. Think Massa did a good job. He’s fast and brave, but still bothers me that he seems to need telemetry and his very brilliant race angineer Rob Smedley to tell him how to drive the car. Amazing symbiosis between them but very odd somehow. Does sort of undermine my faith in Massa – you can’t call him a ‘great’ driver while Rob has too explain how to stuff a racer behind him through a corner. Feels odd. I believe Massa is fast, but think he lacks race craft, and that hurts the team. He did hold up Alonso today. Maybe, just maybe, Alonso could have taken the very brilliant Kubica.

          1. ” Maybe, just maybe, Alonso could have taken the very brilliant Kubica.”
            Alonso probably would have at least had a better go at it but Ferrari get a lot of stick if there’s even a slight hint at team roders and it;s nice to see teammates actually race each other. Besides, Alonso’s tyres had gone quite a distance by that point and it worked out in a way as I don’t think Massa could have defended from Hamilton.
            I don’t mind that Rob tells Massa what to do, he sees a problem so he says it. I like how Massa is just allowed to drive and I once read an interview with Rob S and he said that he likes and wants to be in control of quite a lot so Felipe can just go out and drive. It’s just different and it works for them. My big issue with Massa lately has been his defending; he gave Hamilton too much room when Lewis first overtook him than at Bahrain he gave Alonso quite a large amount of space but the next corner nearly ran Lewis off the road. Maybe he’s being on the wild side again as it is his comeback or because he is aware how bad his season starts usually are but it’s something he has to work on. Speaking of; Kubica’s touted as his possible replacement next year which is something I find interesting as I think Kubica is one of the best defenders out there.

          2. You touched a nerve here. As a supporter, I was a tad embarrassed by his engennier finding it necessary to tell Massa how to drive – see that he didn’t only tell where he was losing time, but also how to fix it. This brings me to another point: Massa was not being overtaken in the pit straight because he was not defending enough (in fact, in a couple of occasions I even found him a bit Schumackesque in his defending….) or because LH or Webber were driving so superbly. He was losing his position because he was way off in the last two curves of the track. This allowed the drivers behind him to have a much better go in the following straight. Bringing it back to Smedley, perhaps he, like me, thinks Massa a slow learner: once he got the line for a curve wrong, he will continue doing that same line to the end of the weekend. I have seen it before, and I saw it again yesterday. It is even more obvious when he is the car behind: You see the line of the car in front, you see him taking another line and losing time and then you see him doing it time and time again…so yesterday Smedley stepped in. I’ve read once that in the beginning of his career, at Sauber, he would not take the same line in a curve twice during a whole GP. This was something they worked with him to improve in his earlier days at Ferrari – perhaps he learned the lesson too much.

        3. Best start in recent years, compared to the opposition, has to be Trulli at Spa ’08: started 11th, was up to at least 6th by turn one before being clobbered from behind by Bourdais. Can’t find any footage of it online unfortunately, but other drivers’ onboards as he comes flying past are quite impressive.

  7. This was Algursuari’s and Chandok’s and Grassi’s best race :)

    1. we’ll see if they keep their race seats.

      1. I think Alguersuari will

  8. Schumacher struggles to pass a Toro Rosso; only to get passed back? What’s wrong with that picture??

    Schumy had better pick up the pace and gather up a podium pretty soon or the shine of expectation of his return will tarnish quickly.

    1. I think that ‘Schumacher Shine’ has gone already.

      He was unlucky to get tagged today by Alonso bouncing off Button: but from that point on he didn’t seem too interested. I don’t think the car was damaged, so that just leaves the outright speed of the car and the driver himself. Rosberg came 5th, and would have been 2nd or 3rd if he hadn’t pitted for tyres. That says to me there was enough outright speed to get the job done through the lower order – which Schumi used to excel at. So where was he?

      I actually think he’s come down with a bump and realised he’s going to have to fight a damn sight harder than he has done since maybe 2001… especially as the backmarkers don’t just deferentially get out of the way like they used to.

      1. Oh man, this is is going to be a great year for Rosberg.

      2. Now that Shumi is back everyone on the grid wants to race him and brag to the boys back home that “i can keep him behind me” but the truth is that in Australia Alguersuari was just holding him up by unprofessional driving tactics that would have, if the officials intervened, made him let Shumi through – this involves swerving accross the driving line and purposely making it impossible for a driver to get through (a similar thing happened not too long ago late last year where a driver ahead had to let the car through because of these tactics or something similar…i dont remember the specifics). Unlike Alonso being let through easily (without any fight) it just shows that these new drivers just want to “get the t shirt” to say they battled with Shumi and could keep him behind…but in reality if they had the professional approach to racing and realised they are not in the same league as Shumi they will just have their own race and let the champ get on to the front of the pack where he can race with those deserving to race against…i bet you that in later races this year if the front drivers try these unprofessional tactics against Shumi or any top driver for that matter they will be warned and have to move over. Although when Shumi gets his full confidence up again and qualifies higher up the pack he wont have to deal with these guys who thing they have something to prove…at Shumi’s expense. Nuf said!

  9. According to DLR his tires were totally shot by the point MS & JA got up to him.

  10. The article puts in perspective the role of fortune for Alonso. He did hustle past Alguersuari but if Webber did not make one of his many many errors of the day coming out of the pits, Alonso would have not got past Webber, period. Of course, one can say this is why Ferrari hires people like Alonso over Webber. Alonso also benefitted from the apparent mistake by Rosberg and Hamilton in pitting twice. And needless to say, passin the bottom third of the field this year is childs play compared to last year. Even a Williams is nothing to get by now for the top teams.

    Anyway, what has happened to Ferrari’s vaunted race pace and ease on the tires? Not only did they look definitively slower than RedSwill in qualifying, but McLaren demonstrated that they could have beaten Ferrari either of two ways: by nursing the tires or 2. by changing and using an advantage of raw speed. If not for their own errors and their pit strategy, Mercedes looked to have them on race distance-pace as well. It’s no good to say Button is better on his tires than Hamilton or anyone else. Hamilton put 30 seconds on Button in Bahrain on the same strategy. If Hamilton were out front, the outcome would have been the same. The conventional wisdom needs some inspection now.

    1. You’re way off, my friend.

      1. Well put. I didn’t think of that argument.

    2. Hamilton had a clear track in Bahrain, and Jenson didn’t have a particularly good weekend full stop.

      I agree about Ferrari to an extent, but Alonso did put in some good laps before he got stuck behind Massa, I think they were slightly better than they showed. If I remember correctly Norb Haug said the Mercedes works better in colder conditions too, so that might contribute to them catching up since Bahrain.

  11. Alonso the best??? Nobody talks about Kubica??? With an awful car he managed to be second!!! And Button, very brave with the strategy.

    1. Yeah, Kubica suprised, but from 18th to 4th isnt easy job :)

      1. Yeah good job from Kubica. He did clearly benefit from the first corner incident, but after that the only man who overtook him was Button. Solid driving and pace, as well as good defensive driving.

      2. In Bahrain Kubica did practically the same job recovering after being hit by Sutil, only that race was in dry and he has much, much worse car :)

  12. now everytime vettel gets pole i’m still going to have that gutt feeling that something bad will happen to his car. can just imagine him being a few laps off being world champion and his engine blows up in a freakish way while he was 30+ seconds infront of everybody else.

    1. Seems Vettel is the new Raikkonen…

      1. Not quite – Vettel does keep fighting even when he’s down, Raikkonen used to just get bored and trundle around.

        I like Vettel, and I’m sure it will come good for him soon.

        1. Really, like when? I used to think kimi was unlucky but its becoming clear that it will take nothing short of a miracle for a newey car to win a title again.
          This is only the 2nd time Seb experiences something as frustrating as losing a win from the front. Kimi and Mika could write a book about it!

  13. “Timo Glock cheekily re-passed the world champion at turn 14 earlier in the race.”

    Good article, and a good read… but I’m pretty sure this was Di Grassi, which makes it even more remarkable, no?

    1. Looked like Glock to me and the team said it was after the race.

      1. Doesn’t it make you smile to be able to say that “Timo Glock overtook Michael Schumacher”? However short lived it was :D

    2. I thought it was di Grassi too, weird.

  14. Can anyone tell me why Button wasnt penalised for his first corner move on Alonso????? if that was Hamilton i think there would have been a penalty involved…….?

    1. Are you serious ?
      Alonso was slow, button got up there almost to his height, on the inside. Still Alonso did as if he was clearly ahead and dived inside.
      It is really clear on Button’s in-car camera.

      No pen at all here for neither of the pilots, thanks god.

    2. Button got the inside line… if I’m pointing finger, I would say it’s Alonso fault for not giving Button any space. The way Alonso moved to the right was like he didn’t noticed that Button was there.

      1. Absolutely – raises the issue of those outboard mirrors again. First corner, is tricky to watch everything, but Alonso made the race a lot more difficult for himself and Michael Schumacher by closing down on Button. Jenson was powerless to avoid it. Did look like Fernando just didn’t use the mirrors. Interestly it seems the GPDA might be pushing for a return to monocoque mounted mirrors again.

  15. Because Alonso drove into him, when left no space.

    Button simply had the racing line, and remember – that now there is a race-driver in the stewards room (Le-Mans winner this weekend, correct?) so it could just be that he passed on the opinion this was a racing incident.

  16. I’d say Button deserves some credit.
    Obviously because of the win, for the decision to switch to slicks, and he also had to come from behind after that magnificent move from Alonso and Schumacher! Look at the start in slow motion: to me Alonso is not past Button at all but he does as if he had the advantage and chooses the inside line, as does mr. Controversy Schumacher. Button had absolutely no choice and lost a few places, enough for Hamilton (starting 7 paces behind) to get past !
    OK Alonso did extremely well, but he has his part of responsability in his spin move.

    Very happy for Kubica: getting a podium agagin much feel great, especially with that mediocre car.

  17. Keith, why is there no mention of Hamilton and Webber in that chart?

    Also, two more things enjoyable about the Australian Grand Prix were

    1) Lesser Stewards interference. In a race with so many incidents, no penalties awarded was good. Drivers as stewards is well and truly working.

    2) Teams Radio. Rob telling Massa how to drive, Alonso’s “I don’t wanna know”, Lewis’s “Terrible idea” were all awesome!! More of it..

    1. why is there no mention of Hamilton and Webber in that chart?

      Because it’s not really relevant to what happened to Schumacher and Alonso. The full chart with all the drivers will be in the analysis later on.

    2. I don’t understand why Webber didn’t get a penalty though. He rammed into Hamilton twice.

      Especially a drive like Webber with a history of bad on track conduct should get a penalty for again roughing up his opponents.

      1. I don’t think Webber deserves a penalty. He and Hamilton were just racing as hard as they could, trying to get past Alonso.

        He explained, that being a little bit to close he lost all aero from the front wing, so he just could not stop as he would have liked.
        The punishment was a loss of 6th place for a meagre 9th.
        I agree with Sumedh, really refreshing not to have drivers being punished for racing and passing.

        1. Well it’s nice that they don’t penalize drivers so harshly, but not long ago Hamilton did receive harsh penalties for similar accidents to the one that Webber caused in last race.

          It just doesn’t feel consistent if they keep going up and now with the harshness of the penalties.

          You can’t just give drivers a driver through for missing a corner one season and the next not even mention that it happened. Or give them a 10 place grid penalty for puntin the opponent out and now just tell them not to do it again (when Webber has in fact done things like that so often already)

          1. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

            Hamilton’s penalty was wrong no doubt. But a wrong decision should not set the precedent for future decisions.

          2. Now the stewarding has been changed slightly and Todt is in charge and it is still new I’m not sure how relevant it is to mention what happened under a different rule. I have to say I lived how the drivers were allowed to race and hope it stays like this

          3. steph90,

            I completely agree. If they keep the penalties like they were done over the last 2 races, I’d be fine with that.

            Still, it makes the penalties that Hamilton got look even more political.

    3. Alonso bugging out was quite funny indeed xD

  18. I remember the Australian Grand Prix 2005, where Alonso got stuck behind Sauber’s Villeneuve for many laps. Back than the race was dry and perhaps just as hard to pass the guy in front of you as today (if you’re not driving a Red Bull, Ferrari or a McLaren).

    Btw I think McLaren took a risk with Button in favour of Hamilton by bringing him in lap 6 for slicks (to see how the tyres behave).

    The frontrunners really took a risk by not going in for new tyres, what a gamble it must have been from Renault and especially Ferrari. As an Alonso fan that last 9 laps were really breath taking, even more when Alonso said on the radio ”I don’t wanna know”, responding on the fact that Hamilton and Webber were coming at him.

    After Webber said sorry to Hamilton for the incident I think it’s fair to say Thank you Mark for doing that! Lol

    1. Button took the risk not McLaren, it’s already in the news. I remember one of the TV commentator said that even their (McLaren) pit was surprised when Button suddenly decided to come in and change to slicks…
      So it wasn’t a planned move to somehow make Button a guinea pig for Hamilton sake, but more of a gamble that Button took.

    2. Its people like you who creat the stereotype that Mclaren favours 1 driver, it was Buttons descision, there was no favouritism, why would they pit someone to favour someone behind them? Surely, it would be the other way around.

  19. Interesting comments all round. I do think if we were going to see Schumacher make his mark it would be in a wet race scenario such as this, where experience can overcome raw pace. Granted he is still a bit rusty, but I think he has had his day.

    Re Alonso, he has never needed the fastest car to win championships. His consistent style and ability to somehow get an extra 0.5s a lap out of whatever he is driving.

    What was impressively different today about FA was his calmness – in the past he has often lost it when in this kind of scenario.

    Definately FA for 2010 champion.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      28th March 2010, 21:50

      Yes I agree, Alonso looks astonishingly well suited to Ferrari and in total control of the team. himself and the car.
      Personally, I’m not keen on either of them, but Alonso looks well equipped for the Championship.

  20. Driver of the day for me was Kubica, quietly showing what could be done with what, let’s be honest, isn’t the fastest car on the grid. Always well ahead of Petrov until he span out.

  21. Funny how all the Webber fans disappeared. I have been telling you all for a long time that the guy is useless. What more proof do you want ? Another crash, no excuse this time either. I think he should be sent in for a mental evaluation.

    1. Oooch, maybe a bit harsh ?

    2. He’s not useless, and though it doesn’t really matter through circumstances, he still scored more than his teammete!!

      Pity he couldn’t find the break pedal on the second to last lap :P

      1. He must have some bad feelings for the team as well.
        Keeping him out on the inters for 3 laps more than the pack really screwed his race. Why did they not pit him with the others, letting Vettel stay in front to spread the strategy?
        The second pit stop cost him just as much as it cost Lewis.
        It shows, that Redbull has the speed to go for champions, but the team has to get better in the strategy department (Reliability is probably a trade off for the superfast Newey car)

    3. Still here ! It might surprise you, but not all fans are fairweather fans. And besides Webber did a fantastic drive today – sure there were a couple of errors, but they were as a result of trying too hard. And wouldn’t you rather see that, than just follow the leader? Give credit where credit is due.

      1. And I agree with BasCB, had Webber been pitted earlier, he would have gotten a far better result.

      2. I wouldn’t call myself a Webber fan, but I agree he had a decent race, fastest lap too. He has to take the blame for the crash with Hamilton but the earlier incident when Massa got by was fair I think, as Brundle said he needs to tune his agression down a bit in some situations, and he would score more points.

      3. Are you on drugs or don’t you care to look at the real numbers ? Here they are:

        1. Button, +3 places from race start
        2. Kubica, +7
        3. Massa, +2
        4. Alonso, -1
        5. Rosberg, +1
        6. Hamilton, +5
        7. Liuzzi, +6
        8. Barrichello, 0 (even)
        9. Webber, -7

        That is Webber, -7 !!! What are you talking about, him having a good race and all the other BS ?

    4. Webber is great!

      He was fighting Hamilton and then hit him. THat’s what motor racing is. Stop slagging off mental people too. They have more sense and a better attitude than you.

      Go Webber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I think F1 fan should be sent to a cave where he can talk to his imaginary friends in peace.

  22. All in podium should thanks Alonso. When there are about 34 laps completed Hamilton change his tyre and was around 1.5 – 2 sec faster in each lap as compare to other running in front of him. Remaining 24 lap, with the new tyre on he was the best contender for 1st or 2nd place at least. If it was any other Hamilton might pass as he has already shown it during the race overtaking Masa, Roseberg, weber etc.

    But overtaking the spaniard was mere impossible. Alonso hold Hamilton for around 14-15 laps being 1.5 – 2 sec slower than Hamilton. Can anyone believe that?

    Alonso really is the best among current standing. I miss Kimi who is the real contender for this spaniard. Better hope next year.

    1. He should pass him, but Weber was a kamikaze. It’s not easy to pass a Ferrari you know? Anyway, awful start by Alonso, and the recovery was Vettel out of the race, Weber doing stupid things all afternoon, Hamilton and Rosberg stoping two times. The rest of the grid behind him were no rivals for the Ferrari.

    2. Alonso is definitely the driver of the race for me. Unimaginably and inexplicably bad start from him…was expecting better owing to him being on the clean side.

      But what a race from thereon. From the last to 4th is unimaginable and at that time I was thinking why isnt Schumi making any progress? Doesn’t augur well for him at all, even without comparing him to Rosberg.

      And as you say, the last 10 laps were incredible. What a defense! Masterful, isn’t it? Given that Lewis was faster by nearly 2secs, he still managed to hold him off. Incredible. and I loved the way he said “I dont want to know” about Lewis’ position. I think it is an amazing insight on how these guys think once they are in the car. They do wonders with those machines…simply beautiful!

      He could have overtake Massa if not for the necessity to defend his position…who knows, if he overtook and became 3rd, Massa might not have been good enough to hold on to the 4th given Hamilton’s relentless attack. Good show by Ferrari overall..totally worth waking up in the morning!

      1. @Saip I agree.
        Alonso during the race ‘he said’ “I dont want to know” about Lewis’ position.
        Don’t you think its a master act.
        And Alonso if he wants to over take Masa it might be easy and might be easy for Hamilton to overtake the duo. But all in podium, you all should be thankful to this spaniard.

        When Alonso is behind you and you and him both are in a competitive car, then you know what happen, Red bull still not sure wht happen to them in Baharin.

        I am really waiting for the next year.

        I think we all not posting this if Alonso has normal [not good/excellent] start.

      2. If you watch the start carefully, you’ll notice Alonso pulled up slightly to the left of the other cars.

        This put his left rear onto the black painted strip, and I’m guessing this is why he got such massive wheelspin off the line.

      3. The driver of the race was Kubica, hands-down. No mistakes, maximized what the car could give him. 2nd for Renault is simply a stunning result. He surely is one of the top 5 drivers in F1 today.

  23. I’m writing this without looking at the data, but – outstandingly enjoyable race aside – I do fear for the dry races on the calendar. Superficially, it does appear that passing even in a considerably faster car is very, very difficult. It was apparent that Kubica could hold his position very easily, and likewise Alonso and Massa never looked like being able to pass one another in a straight fight, not to mention Hamilton running out of pace as soon as he got within 20 metres of the Ferrari.

    Schumacher being bottled up behind JA was unfortunate, but how much could he actually do?

    I’m concerned that reducing the width – and contact patch – of the front tyres was another step toward more aero-dependancy, and we are right back in the situation that the current regulations sought to change: the cars can follow each other, but that’s it. Massa was repeatedly slithering all over the track, but as soon as he reached full throttle, he was safe.

  24. Well whether you like Alonso or not- he admitted himself that his tyres were not the best any more and there was no way he could have even tried to overtake Massa. Also apparently Ferrari have a new “team order”- the guys can race each otehr but for the last at least third of the race they are expected to hold position and not try anything that may end up in “not the best result for the team”- very sensible and very clear. And yes I do think he helped Massa get his podium as I do not think Massa could have held of Lewis and Mark.
    On the other hand- people complaining about Mark’s behaviour- he was simply totally over motivated in his home GP and wanted to show something- sadly it ended in a couple of daft moves on his part.
    The fact he got a reprimand and not a penalty? Totally correct- we fans moan there is no overtaking so we expect penalties to be handed out when they try it? CRAP! It seems the stewards now with ex drivers are doing a much better jon in the interests of the sport and hope this continues.
    As for the mix up with Button/Alonso/Schumacher- again no one drivers’s fault- but anyone can see that three into a corner does not go.

  25. Surely the coming together at the first corner was Schumacher’s fault by him not giving enough room to his right for Alonso and Button, whom he had a clear view of approaching the corner.

    1. No, it appeared to be more Alonso’s fault, as the BBC tream said.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        29th March 2010, 3:29

        Yep, definetely Alonso’s fault he didn’t give way to Button when it was obvious he had the racing line, all Alonso’s fault although I do respect his amazing drive from last all the way to 4th, but I think that Schumacher could have done alot better if it wasn’t for Alonso

  26. it’s still too early to judge Schumi’s pace but it’s starting to feel quite weird seeing him behind Alguesuari. i would expect him to be at least faster than Rosberg or to be fighting against the Feraris.that would spice thinks up even more. a bit disappointing till now. but than again where will he be at the end of the season?if he manages to end his “first” year on 3rd is that good for his image? it’s got that Lance Armstrong coming back taste all over it. returning after 3 years and teaming up with one of the best team leaders. he ended up 3rd in last years Tour de France. still faster than the other 197 riders who started. but the edge is off. Contador swept the tarmac with him…

    Keith maybe you can add this to the predictions topic:

    Predict how many laps will Vettel last in Malaysia?

  27. M.S and Nico are both doing well,sneaking up on things both running good races ,they,ll start winning soon,Nico will want to get some wins and obviously M.S as well. Fernando,s wearing a little thin with me at v momment,if he dislikes safety cars so much then when is he going to hand back his Singapore 08 trophy,even if he new nothing about it? that would be the right thing to,instead of letting P.K jr cop all the flak.P.K jr was a lost oppertunity for F1.

  28. Smashing race on soooo many levels
    1 alonso caused the button/schumy accident at first corner but it was a racing incident and thankfully the stewards kept out of it.
    2 Alonso had a great result considering he was plum last at lap 1
    3 Kubica had a great result, i seem to remember some very agressive weaving to keep back a merc (need to watch the race again) which showed he was prepared to race hard and push the rules, again no steward involvement.
    4 could Vettel have lasted to the end of the race on that set of tyres, we have been told previousy the red bull is hard on tyres
    5 the 2nd pit stops…..this was an odd one. The undisputed king of strategy brought Schumy and Rosberg in for 2nd pit stops and it seemed to me that McLaren panicked and just followed, and Webber also. Certainly Hamilton wasnt complaining about tyres, i think they just thought “Ross is always right, we should do the same”………………….note for future, EVEN ROSS ISNT ALWAYS RIGHT!!
    6 is Hamilton loosing the plot without dad? Tyre burning in the hire car with local “hoons”!! Really?? This was all he could think of doing on a working weekend? Bit poor really.
    7 the thinking of Alonso; immediately he asked why people were stopping for second set of slicks; Hamilton in contrast seemed to take ages to figure out that the others were not all coming in for new tyres.
    8 Alonso telling his pit he didnt want to know anymore about Hamiltons progress towards the back of his Ferrari, hilarious.
    9 Mark Webber admitting he caused the crash and that he had apologised to Hamilton; not a clever move but he had the balls to admit it and speak to Lewis.
    10 Australia is usually a good race, this was no different and unfortunatly it is not a pointer for the rest of the season; except that the winner often becomes the WDC
    11 finally…..roll on Malaysia

  29. Alonso definitely is the driver of the race…. the passion and aggression are that of a true racer… in some shots her was right up there behind Massa, and you could actually see how much more aggressive and ultimately faster he was… but then his preservation sense kicked in…

    1. It’s funny how Alonso is so popular because of this race. As much as I like the guy, he screwed up the start for himself AND several other drivers! He did a fantastic job of catching up to Massa, then doesn’t bother to make an impression on him or most-importantly; kubica. What a waste.

  30. A good call from Button to be the first driver to make the change to slicks. Again it would have been interesting to see how close it would have been at the end with Vettel if his Red Bull had not suffered reliability problems, would Vettel have been able to look after his tyres like Button did throughout the race?

    An impressive race from Kubica as well, he made up places at the start and then managed to hold off Hamilton and Massa during the race to get second.

    I am glad Ferrari let their drivers race each other and didn’t tell Massa to let Alonso through, like the commentators thought they should, even though he seemed quicker.

    It was a good recovery drive from Alonso, although he may think he could have finished higher, a fourth place finish after being last after the first couple of corners was a decent result.

    Does anyone know if Alonso had to give a place back to one of the Virgin cars on the first lap? On the BBC Forum they showed the onboard footage from Alonso’s car for the first half lap and I couldn’t tell if he had completed his overtake on the Virgin before they reached the yellow flags for the Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Buemi incident

  31. I got the feeling the Ferraris stopped pushing after a while. They seemed to be happy to sit in 3rd and 4th to take the points and preserve the engines.

    I think Alonso and Massa knew that with the tyres they had, they weren’t going places. Good team play, Alonso dropped back and played the defensive game brilliantly, aided by turbulence of course, and Massa built a bit of a gap.

    Lewis struggled to get past Alonso, who showeed how good he can be defensively. Lewis was a good 1.5 Secs faster with the newer tyres but still couldnt get past.

    I have to agree that Drive of The Day was Robert Kubica. He did really well. I would Alonso second with Lewis thrid. Jenson did a good race as well, but it wasnt as exciting.

  32. more proof (if it was needed) that Schumacher’s not all that hes cracked up to be, great race by alonso, however and another podium for massa, although he should have achieved more.

    1. Hi, reading the stats article I found out Schumi was one of the two guys that had to pit 4 times, also was the guy who passed more people for a position. So I think his performance during the race was very good, sadly the TV coverage during those two first races has been very weak and a lot of stuff that happens is not being showed.

      1. also was the guy who passed more people for a position

        But wasn’t he mainly just picking off stragglers? It’s not as if he was passing Ferraris, Red Bulls and McLarens.

  33. jenson,Massa and Kubica are exceptional drivers but in my opinion schumacher,Hamilton,Alonso are in differentleague.

    1. schumacher is no longer in a different league, he had much less competiotion when he was winning championships

  34. Jaime Alguersuari, Spanish. Engine: Ferrari
    Pedro dela Rosa: Spanish. Engine: Ferrari

    Not meaning this too ugly here, but with whom would these guys have a bigger fight? With their countryman, already fighting for the title in their enginesuppliers’ car?
    Or the 7-times world champion who came back, who everybody wants to fight?

    Don’t understand me wrong, I don’t suggest Ferrari asking them anything. I just want to point out that this might be the little difference which can be enough nowadays in F1.

  35. Alonso lost the race before the start, when he lined up the Ferrari on the slippery white lines at the grid. He lost traction as he put the power down, and as a result found himself in the congested trouble zone at the first turn.

  36. There were several enjoyable moments during the race and Glock and Alguersuari fighting with Schumacher were certainly part of it…

  37. Great recovery from Alonso but expected better from Schumacher hoping that he will deliver in the future races.

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